Almost there, but still have to get through the Mojave Desert. One more day’s ride will put us at the back of the San Gabriel Mountains.
Riding a bike in the desert is uncomfortable, both physically and mentally. We do have support on the road. In the desert our support vehicle is every 15 miles where we can refill with water. My full camelbak lasts me just about 15 miles. Yesterday’s mileage was reduced from 107 (!) to 30 due to the temperatures and the dangers of being out in the desert for so long. We were shuttled to ride in just the last 30 miles. The shuttle ride took a little more than an hour–in an air conditioned van. We started riding at about 8a and it was near 90. It took me almost an hour before my body stopped complaining about the heat and settled in. Once acclimated to the desert, I was able to be relatively comfortable riding–actually slight climbing for almost 30 miles. My next concern is to balance my water usage until I can get to the sag vehicle. I don’t ever want to run out of water–the thought of that terrifies me. I drink as needed, but I am very conscious of my water usage and how much further to the sag vehicle. Visually, for me, the desert is hauntingly beautiful and terrifying at the same time. It’s a place to visit, but not dally. There is no one and nothing out there for as far as the eye can see. Cell service is rare. An occasional train comes through and that is about it. Hardly any cars, too, as we are not on the interstate. As I said, we have one more day to finish getting across the Mojave. Yeah!
On a really fun note, during our day off in Needles, a small group of us got to visit Lake Havasu and go boating with my sister, Lynne, and her boyfriend, Rick. From the moment we got picked up we had smiles on our faces. All the details were handled by Lynne and Rick and we were treated like honored guests. We relaxed, had the wind in our faces as the boat powered along the lake. We floated, drank beers, ate lunch, jumped off rocks and went tubing behind the boat. The pictures I think speak for themselves. It was an amazing respite from the weariness of the desert and the exhaustion of having ridden nearly 2200 miles in 46 days! My thanks and gratitude to Lynne and Rick!